As your small business grows, you are likely to find yourself in the position of needing a small business accounting software package. These generally user-friendly accounting systems, like QuickBooks Online through places like Blueback Accounting, are easier to understand than ever before and help any entrepreneur understand their true business finances. If you're preparing to fire up your first computerized accounting system, here are the top 5 things you'll need in order to get started.
Business Logos and Stationary. QuickBooks and other software packages send out a number of papers and emails with your business logo, so you'll want to set up your logo before you begin generating things like customer statements, invoices, and reminders. QuickBooks stores company logos in a subdirectory within its system and you can practice adding it to blank pages before going live. If you're not tech-savvy, get some stationary with your business logo printed and set up notices to print without an additional logo.
Chart of Accounts. Most small business accounting packages come with a built-in chart of accounts, which is a numbered list of categories of income and expenses that you will use to generate readable reports and make entries. You will likely want to customize this list so it's more useful to your business. QuickBooks, for example, allows you to choose an industry-specific chart of accounts. In addition, you can always add or delete categories that you and your accountant feel will be helpful. Creating a more useful chart of accounts now will help avoid unnecessary duplication of work later on.
Vendor and Client Account Balances. Be sure you have an accurate picture of your liabilities and accounts receivable before you begin entering any information. You'll be asked to create vendor accounts and customer accounts in the software first. Then, input the amounts owed to you or by you. Make a list of all outstanding bills and invoices so you don't make this step harder than it should be.
Bank Account and Credit Card Balances. Once you've formatted your communications and entered accounts receivable and accounts payable, it's time to reconcile your business bank and credit card statements up to the beginning of the start month. Once you know that the beginning balance is correct, it can be entered into the software as an opening balance and you may begin to reconcile future bank statements through the bank reconciliation feature. Credit card balances may either be cleared off through a payment prior to starting your new software or you may enter the full balance due through accounts receivables.
Troubleshooting. Finally, before you begin the process of setting up your software, it's a good idea to cultivate a relationship with a qualified local accountant with experience in your software package. This will help you proceed with confidence and in a more logical manner, and he or she can give you some much-needed insight into things like problems to avoid and how to streamline your day-to-day entry processes.
Having these 5 items in place before you set up any accounting package will undoubtedly help you create an efficient accounting system and avoid stress as you move into this next chapter of your business life.